I Know Not the Man

easter5.jpg (344×221)Run!  Run!  The words shouted at him from within as the angry faces drew nearer.  Run—his fear told him.  Run—his anger screamed.  Run—his bitter disappointments cried; and he ran, never looking back.

As the voices from without grew dim, the voices within raged on!  He ran blindly as tears clouded his vision, stumbling down the steps, into the streets, and away from the circle of light that housed the angry mob.

His anguishing cry filled the air, piercing the darkness—a cry formed by all the voices within as they burst from his heart—and he ran and wept bitterly.

Every street, every corner seemed to shout accusations at him, but he just kept running.  He had to get away, for the hounds of hell had joined the mocking voices within, shouting their own words of disgust, jeering and taunting his soul:  You are not fit to live!  Go to the cliffs and throw yourself down!

His heart was pounding inside his chest, but he pushed himself to the darkest spot of the city: Golgotha.  He climbed the rocky trail, his pace slowing as his strength ebbed away.  The place smelled of death, and hell hounds nipped his heels.  As he neared the edge, his feet were like lead; each step pushed him closer to the precipice.  Dizzy from the exertion and weary from the heart-cries, he looked over the city.  He could see the lights of Caiaphas’ palace and wondered what was happening to his Lord.

Don’t call Him your Lord, the angry voice of shame shouted.  You have no right to call Him that, after what you did!  A sob caught in his throat, and his broad shoulders shook once again.  He fell to his knees and buried his face into his hands just as a cock crowed once more.

Three times!  Three times—just as Jesus had said—and then the cock crowed.  The face of the young servant girl flashed across his memory.  He was also with Jesus of Nazareth, she had said, but her voice was not mocking.  As he replayed the scene, her face became clearer—a face he had seen before.  She had been at one of the street meetings when one of the Sadducees had taunted Jesus, tempting Him, trying to trap Him with words.  Her face became clearer: a face that searched for the truth!  As he recalled the scene on Caiaphas’ porch, he realized that she was not speaking out of accusation, but out of incredulity, out of hope that perhaps he, the big fisherman, would do something to stop this insanity! He had failed not only Jesus, but this girl as well.

*   *   *   *   *

Anna watched as the big man’s face showed immeasurable fear.  She didn’t mean for her words to sound so accusatory, but they did. When she heard him, he looked around the circle of faces, illuminated by the fire where they stood warming themselves, and denied that he even knew Jesus.  His words shocked her.  How could he say such a thing?  Then the others also accused him, and he began to use words which so completely denied who he was, that a sob caught in Anna’s voice.  He looked at her as though startled.  At that moment, a procession of religious leaders passed by with Jesus in tow.  She watched as their eyes met—Peter and Jesus—and time stood still.  She saw a love and pity for the big fisherman exude from Jesus’ swollen face; but when she looked at Peter, she only read anguish.  He had denied his Lord.  Oh, what an awful night!  This couldn’t be happening! Anna tried to go to Peter, to say something that might help, but he had turned and fled.

“Back to your quarters and get ready for your day,” shouted her master.

“You others.  Go! Stop your staring and go home!”

Several wanted to argue, to ask questions and gain some answers for all that had happened, but one look into the master’s cold eyes, and they slithered away like serpents, hissing and grumbling as they went.

Anna slowly crossed the porch and looked out upon the city.  Where had he gone?  She prayed that he would do nothing foolish!  She had too many questions yet unanswered, and now they had taken Jesus. Oh, what would become of him? She shuddered as she recalled the sight of his face, swollen and bloodied, patches of his beard missing, his hands bound like a common thief!  Now, it was her turn to cry.  As she shuffled down the corridor, one desperate thought plagued her: I must find him!  I must talk to Peter!

*   *   *   *   *

Peter had not seen anyone throughout the whole ordeal.  He knew they were looking for him—the big leader! He had seen them in the garden, but he hid himself from their probing eyes.  How could he ever face them again? When the earth had quaked and the darkness fell—a darkness so much like the blackness within his soul: complete and condemning—Peter had hoped that the earth would swallow him up.  He knew that it was over. Jesus was dead.

He hadn’t had the courage to end his life.  How thankful he was that he hadn’t!  While buying his breakfast yesterday, he had overheard the news about Judas.  Serves him right, he had thought, but just as quickly a voice within rebuked him:  Are you any better?

The Sabbath day was now over and night fell as Peter once again entered the garden.  He walked past the place where Jesus had met them, asking them to pray, but instead they had slept. His face had been bloodied by sweat, and the torment of His soul was written plainly across his face.  Could you not watch with me for one hour? Peter hurried his steps past the spot and found a dark corner next to the garden wall, sinking down, down, down, and once again weeping.

“Peter?”

The voice startled him; a man stood so close!  He looked up as the form came closer and recognition dawned in his heart.

“Peter.  We’ve been looking all over for you,” John said.  His voice was gentle, full of concern with not a hint of accusation.

“Go away, John.  Leave me,” Peter muttered, his head drooping in despair.

“No, Peter.  I’ll not let you do this!”  John squatted down before him, his eyes full of pleading.

The silence was deafening before Peter’s voice whispered.  “How can I ever face any of them again, after what I did?”

John snorted.  “You only did what we all did, Peter.  We all ran.”

“Yes, but you didn’t deny Him,” he hissed, sighing and shaking his head.

John sat down beside Peter, pulling his knees up and crossing his arms over them.

“Peter, we all denied Him: maybe not in our words, but in our hearts and actions; and that’s what He sees and knows about all of us.”  John shook his head.  “We all deserted Him when He needed us the most.”  He groaned. “I never thought it would end this way.”

The two men sat in silence, mulling over the nightmare in which they were living. He sees and knows… The thought echoed in Peter’s mind.  He sees and knows… “and forgives,” he whispered.

John looked his way questioningly, noticing for the first time, a glimmer of the old Peter in his friend’s eyes.

Peter sat up straighter.  “He sees and knows everything, John.  How many times did He tell us that?” His voice grew in strength.  “He sees us right now, and He knows our hearts.”  He voice softened, “and He forgives.”

John shivered in the darkness and stood to his feet.  “Let’s go, Peter.”

Peter looked up at John, still not knowing how he would face the others, but he took the offered hand and rose to his feet.

As they neared the house, Peter hesitated.

“They’re all gone, Peter,” John whispered, opening the door. “Everyone is out looking for you.”

Although the comment was meant to comfort him, it only brought more heartache to the broken man. “I don’t deserve that,” he muttered dejectedly.

John made no comment, but led Peter to his bed.  Before Peter’s eyes closed, he looked at his friend, and whispered, “Thank you.”  He rolled over, and sighed once more before sleep overtook him, wondering if he had slept at all over the past forty-eight hours.

One by one, the others returned, speaking in hushed voices, relieved to have their leader back.  Peter heard nothing until rushing feet and excited voices entered the room.

“I tell you, He’s not there.”

“What do you mean?”

“We went to the tomb to anoint His body, but He’s gone.”

Peter came to his feet and rushed forward.  “What has happened?”

Once again the women told their unbelievable story.  All the men looked on, astonished and full of doubt. Without a word, John rushed from the house, and Peter followed.

*   *   *   *   *

It had been the longest Sabbath of Anna’s weary life, but now she was free, if only for a few moments.  She had listened to the others as they talked about all that had happened and had gleaned the information she wanted.  Now, she hurried towards the garden where Jesus’ disciples had taken Him.  Perhaps the disciples would be there.  As she approached the path to the tomb, she heard excited voices and someone running her way.  Quickly, she left the path and hid behind the bushes.

“What do you think it means?” one woman asked.  Anne could hear the mixture of fear and excitement in her voice.

“I don’t know,” the other woman panted as she ran, “but we must tell the others.”

Anna cautiously stepped back on to the path after the women were out of sight.  She stared down the way in which they had just run, wondering what had happened.  Quickly, she turned and headed to the tomb.  As she drew near, her pace slowed as she stared in awe and wonder.  The tombstone was rolled away, leaving the entrance gaping wide open!  Slowly, she stepped closer, afraid to look inside, yet anxious to see. The natural wall of stone had been carved out, making a place to lay the dead.  It bore a huge crack across its face, probably caused by the earthquake which had occurred during the crucifixion. Coming closer, she touched the giant stone and leaned in to look inside, amazed that she had enough courage to do so, and wondering what it would be like to look at a dead body. To her amazement, the tomb was completely empty, except for some cloth.  What did it all mean?tomb

As she gazed in wonder, she heard fast-approaching footsteps.  Once again, she hid herself, fretting that her time was short before she needed to return to her work.  She watched as the disciple, called John, came running to the tomb. He stopped, hesitating at the entrance, when Peter came running towards him.  He never stopped, but ran into the tomb, and John followed.  Their voices were low, and she couldn’t understand what they were saying.  A woman came slowly up the path, and Anna recognized her as one of the women who had left the tomb so quickly.  She was weeping as though her heart was broken, when the men hurriedly left the tomb, running past her as though she was not there.

Anna watched the woman stoop down and look into the sepulcher, and decided it was time for her to leave when she heard voices coming from the tomb. She looked on in wonder, as a man seemed to appear out of nowhere.  He spoke to the woman.

“Why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?”

Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

The man said to her, “Mary.”

She turned herself, and said to him, “Master!”

He said to her, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

Anna watched as the woman took one last look and ran.  When she turned back to look at Jesus, He was gone!  Anna hurried down the path and headed towards Caiaphas’ house as her mind traveled in a hundred different directions.  What did it all mean?  Was it really Jesus?  What had he said? …I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. She stopped as she came to the steps leading to the porch and stared into space, her heart aching to understand.

“Anna! Stop dawdling and get busy. You’re already late.”

She looked up to see the head maidservant shaking her finger at her, and then hurrying back inside. Anna ran up the steps and went straight to work.  As she busied herself with the tasks at hand, she listened, and thought, and wondered.

*   *   *   *   *

The table was abuzz with conversation when Anna finally finished her morning chores and gathered her bread for the noon meal.

“Have you heard?” one maid whispered as the others leaned closer.  She looked out across the room to the doorway, wanting to be certain that no one of any importance heard her words.

“They are saying that this Jesus is not in the tomb.”

Heads shook and tongues wagged at the same time.

“How can that be?”

“What does it mean?”

“I heard that the chief priests paid soldiers to keep watch at the tomb.  Surely they wouldn’t let this man’s followers take him!”

Anna held her tongue though she was bursting inside, wanting to shout, “He is risen, just as he said!”  But did she really believe that?

*   *   *   *   *

Every day more stories flooded the streets of Jerusalem concerning Jesus Christ.  Many went to the tomb—finding it empty—until more soldiers were posted to keep people away. Some concluded that his disciples had taken Him as the soldiers were saying; however, much to the Jewish leaders’ consternation, many believed that Jesus was alive.  And although the disciples had kept themselves hidden, their news that Jesus had appeared to them in several different places spread like wildfire! The ache in Anna’s heart grew stronger with every story.  She wanted to believe, but she needed to talk to Peter.  He would know, and she needed to tell him how sorry she was!

As she swept the floor in the main hallway, Rhoda, another servant girl, came to her, and whispered in her ear.  “The disciples are meeting Jesus tomorrow near Bethany.  Will you go with me?”

Anna’s eyes widened.  She could only nod, her voice was lost in her joy.

“Meet me by the giant olive tree at the end of our road tomorrow at the end of our work day.”  Rhoda looked anxious.  “I hope we will not be too late.”

“It can’t be helped.  I’ll be there,” Anna whispered, and once again she began to sweep.  Her heart raced at the thought of finally getting her answers.

“Anna, you are raising more dirt than you are sweeping,” chided the head maid as she came from one of the side rooms.  “Slow down!”

Anna only nodded, ducking her head to hide her smile.

*   *   *   *   *

Rhoda was waiting for Anna just as she had said, and together the girls hurried down the narrow streets of Jerusalem.  As they reached the Eastern Gate, the crowd thickened with laborers heading out of the city.

“How do you know that they are meeting?” Anna asked as they hurried down the road.

“I overheard some of the women talking in the marketplace the other day.  It’s only rumors, but it is the place where He had met them before, and supposedly, it is where the disciples have been hiding.”

Anna stopped.  “You mean this is all hearsay?” she asked doubtfully.

Rhoda was impatient to be on their way.  “Do you have anything else pressing on your schedule that you do not want to see the risen Messiah?”

“I…,” Anna began to speak, but changed her mind.  “Let’s go.”

As they neared the village of Bethany, many others seemed to be heading in the same direction, and the girls found themselves swallowed up in the crowd.  As a whole, they moved beyond the village wall, across the neighboring valley, and up the gradual hillside just east of the village.  And then He was there! He spoke, and everyone was silent.  His words were just as Anna remembered.  She could have listened to Him speak all day, and she knew that the others felt the same way. Hundreds of people stood gazing upon the One who had conquered death!  And then He was gone.

Slowly, the crescendo of voices rose and fell, and the crowd broke apart into smaller groups going in different directions.  Anna held Rhoda’s hands in hers. “Thank you, dear friend.”

Rhoda smiled sadly, “I long to know more.” As she spoke, they turned to see many of the disciples heading their way, led by Peter.

Anna gasped and watched as he drew closer.  He was talking with one of the other men, when he turned and looked her way.  His feet stopped, and a look of anguish came over his face.

Anna quickly came forward and fell at his feet.  “Please sir, forgive me,” she cried, as tears clogged her throat.  She wanted to speak to him, but fear stopped her words from coming.

Peter knelt down and touched her shoulder. “What is your name?” he asked, his voice gentle yet strong.

She looked up into his kind eyes and saw no rejection or anger. “My name is Anna.”

He smiled.  “Anna, I am the one who needs your forgiveness.  You only spoke the truth.

I’m sorry your heard my words.”

“But when you looked at me, it was as though my words were the final blow.”

Peter looked away, thinking back to that awful night.  He remembered her words, remembered the accusing faces, remembered his own words, and remembered the cock crowing.  Understanding dawned in his mind.  He turned to face her and smiled sadly.  “It wasn’t your words, but the words of our Lord.  He had told me that I would deny Him three times before the cock crowed in the morning. It was that awful sound piercing the night that also pierced my heart.”  He shook his head in wonder.  “Jesus knew even before it happened that I would deny Him, even though I vehemently argued that I would be true to the death.”

Anna could wait no longer.  She must know.  “I heard Him say that He was going to His Father.  He told the woman that His Father was her Father too.  Was that her promise alone?”

Peter’s smile grew wider.  “No, my child.  That promise is for anyone who will believe—believe that He truly is God!  He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness…even our doubts and denials.”  A shadow passed over Peter’s face, and Anna understood.  “Can you believe?”

Anna’s eyes glistened as her heart burst with joy.  “Yes,” she whispered, nodding her head.  “Yes, I believe!”  She looked back up the hill where Jesus had just stood—alive and speaking to them.  “How could I not believe?”

Peter nodded.  “And yet many will believe who have not seen, and great is their faith.”

He thought back to Thomas’ harsh statements and the Lord’s strong yet gentle rebuke.  Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  His heart, so recently crushed and bruised, wanted to doubt, but he knew he would never doubt again!

The Extinction of Humans

Angel of Light half coverI stared at the photo of an asteroid the size of the moon smashing into the earth and listened as I watched the face with dark-rimmed glasses talk about the extinction of humans—an interesting page for two high school students to check out, when their class project was finished.

After asking them a few questions, I said, “Well, I’m glad that I know that the earth has at least 1,007 more years before it is destroyed,” and started to walk away.

“Wait a minute,” the one student called.  “Why such an odd number?”

After I told him that I believed the Bible, which has a 100% accuracy track record in regards to its predictions or prophecies coming true, I went on to tell them that I trusted It to be true about future prophecies as well.

“I’m an atheist,” was the response, and my words were dismissed.

Whenever I spend any amount of time in the public schools, my heart is overwhelmed with a burden for our students.  So many of them know nothing about Jesus Christ, except to use His precious name as a curse word, and they do not want to know.  They confidently express their “anti-God” opinions, and I wonder if I am having any effect at all on their lives—just another reason for the Strong Delusion trilogy.

Do you have a burden for the lost?  Do you wonder about what life will be like for those who enter into the Tribulation period?  Or are you like me, who for years held the attitude of unconcern.  “I’ll be gone, so who cares?”  I’m ashamed to admit it, but that was my thought!  Writing this trilogy has opened my eyes to truths that I had never considered and it has increased my burden for the lost.

I hope you will take a moment to consider reading A Moment in Time and Angel of Light.  My prayer is that it will not only be an exciting book to read, but will also be a challenge to you as well. Or perhaps you have a teen for whom you are burdened.  I was thrilled when a grandmother recently told me the following:

After I read A Moment in Time, I bought four more books—one for each of my granddaughters.  They need to read it!

That’s just one reason for the Strong Delusion trilogy.  I pray that these books can change lives!

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

One of God’s Great Don’ts

Once again, this morning’s devotionID-100263578 from Oswald Chamber’s Devotional Bible was a great blessing and challenge!  Dig in!  It’s short, so you can read it a couple times!! 🙂

It is one thing to say “Fret not,” but a very different thing to have such a disposition that you find yourself able not to fret.  It sounds so easy to talk about “resting in the Lord” and “waiting patiently for Him” until the nest is upset—until we live, as so many are doing, in tumult and anguish; is it possible to rest in the Lord?  If this IMG_0085“don’t” does not work there, it will work nowhere.  This “don’t” must work in days of perplexity as well as in days of peace, or it never will work.  And if it will not work in your particular case, it will not work in anyone else’s case.  Resting in the Lord does not depend on external circumstances at all, but on your relationship to God Himself…

Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way. Our Lord never worried and He was never anxious, because He was not “out” to realize His own ideas; He was “out” to realize God’s ideas.  Fretting is wicked if you are a child of God.

Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God?  Put all “supposing” on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing.  All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.

 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

Psalm 37:8

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I Love Evolution

Webster defines evolution as:

  1. biology : a theory that the differences between modern plants and animals are because of changes that happened by a natural process over a very long time
  2. : the process by which changes in plants and animals happen over time
  3. : a process of slow change and development

This is a picture of true evolution:IMG_7494

As I was cleaning the globes in the bathroom, I thought, “How smart that these are facing downward.  That way, they don’t collect bugs!”  If you’ve ever had the upward facing kind, you know what I mean.  What a mess! So who thought of facing them downward, and why did they face upward to begin with?

Think back with me to a time before electricity.  Light came from candles, and the globes  had to open upward!  So, when electricity came into being, the globes faced upward. (This is just my hypothesis, but it makes good sense!) Then someone had a “bright” idea: evolution!

Evolution takes place all the time in our lives because people have limited knowledge and experience.  As their knowledge grows, new ideas evolve. Our experiences and situations change, and evolution happens.  It’s a wonderful thing, HOWEVER…

Our wonderful, almighty God has ALL knowledge already, and always has, even billions of years ago, before He chose to create all that we see and do not see!  He didn’t have to evolve anything!  His best creation happened exactly the way He wanted to happen, and changes or improvements were not necessary.  He created the tree frog with the ability to climb trees right from the start, because He ALWAYS knows what is best, even for a frog!

So what’s the point? Check your thinking about God.  I’d say more, but really, Greg Baker says it best on Rooted Thinking!  Check it out, and perhaps rethink your thinking? My God is so big…:)

Bow the Knee

Mocking_of_Jesus

Bowing the knee before Jesus may conjure up in your mind one of several images of someone in the Bible; and if you Google the phrase, you’d be surprised at what comes up! Perhaps blind Bartimaeus, or the woman with an issue of blood, or the disciples came to your mind–certainly, they are just a few that physically bowed and worshiped our Lord.

Mark 15:19 says that they bowed the knee and worshiped Him–a beautiful picture until we read the beginning of the verse: Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him;and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him. 

When we see the whole picture, our heart aches.

Mocking_of_JesusAs we approach the most important date on the Christian calendar, it would be good for us to pause and reflect.  How long has it been since I literally bowed my knee to Jesus?  How often do I get on my knees and confess my sins to my Savior, for that IS truly an act of worship? When was the last time that I spent a “sweet hour of prayer” with Him–the One who suffered so much for me?

Do I come into His house to truly worship?  Where is my heart?  Is it on the crowd?  Am I thinking more about what I’m wearing or what someone else is wearing than on worshiping Jesus?  And did I really even think about what to wear as I came to His house of prayer to worship the “High King of Heaven?”  I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus?

As I read Mark fifteen this morning, my heart was broken, because I realize how often my heart is not worshipful. Webster defines worship as:

  1. the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshiping God or a god
  2. excessive admiration for someone

Respect, love, prayer, believing, and excessive admiration.  Those all take time and thought, and so often that is what is missing from our worship. Just a few more questions which I need to ask and answer in my heart:

RESPECT: How do I show respect to my God and Savior as I approach Him?  Amazingly, He WANTS us to approach Him, to know Him (John 17:3).  Admiration, deference, esteem, reverence, veneration,  and high opinion are all synonyms for respect. So, perhaps the question would be: Is my worship thoughtful and focused on God?

LOVE: Love is a choice, act of the will. That may sound heartless in light of the world’s definition and expressions of love, but it lasts and it will be genuine!  I choose to love my Lord, although it was not a hard choice to make!  A lust for blood and a wicked heart drove the Roman soldier to mockingly worship Jesus and bow his knee.  May an overwhelming desperation to express my love and gratitude drive me to my knees in worship!

PRAYER: Working with children teaches me SO much!  Repeatedly, I tell them that even though I am saying the words, God wants all our hearts to be praying together.  That’s a lot for a child to understand.  That’s hard for adults to understand and do!  It takes concentration.  Does your mind wander as the preacher is praying?  Take heart, we all are in that boat!  Continually strive to plug in and take part.  A worship service is not a staged production put together to entertain.  That’s why I have issues with clapping.  When I’ve played an offertory, or sung a special with my heart tuned to worship God, I love hearing a heartfelt “Amen,” which is a statement of agreement, and not applause for performance–I’m not performing, I’m worshiping. Now some may be able to “clap” their praise to God–I just haven’t got there yet! 🙂

BELIEVE:  Mar 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Oh, how I can relate to this father!  How many of my disappointments, angst, fears, struggles, frustrations are all because of my unbelief?  How much more would my Father do if I only believed?   But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.(22)  Can God or God can?  Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (23)  I can’t say it any better than that!

EXCESSIVE ADMIRATION: Excessive makes it sound like it’s too much, like too much ketchup or Parmesan cheese!  Can we be too excessive or extravagant in our admiration for the One who suffered even mocking worship for me?  And what would excessive admiration look like? I bet it would fill our churches with ardent worshipers, fill our mouths with constant praise, and overwhelm our hearts with gratitude.  It might even overflow our eyes with tears.

 And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted.  Matthew 28:19

I wonder have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calvary!
I know my Lord expects the best from me.

Refrain:
How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

The hours that I have wasted are so many
The hours I’ve spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if His heart is breaking too.

I wonder have I cared enough for others,
Or have I let them die alone?
I might have helped a wand’rer to the Saviour,
The seed of precious Life I might have sown.

No longer will I stay within the valley
I’ll climb to mountain heights above;
The world is dying now for want of someone
To tell them of the Saviour’s matchless love.

Lyrics: Ensign Edwin Young
Music: Harry E. Storrs

Please Push Me Off This Ladder, Lord

Would anyone in their right mind pray a prayer like that?  I don’t think so.

Yes, it’s been one year since my husband’s fall.  For those of you who have joined me since that time—and I am overwhelmed by that number—here’s a recap of the accident:

During the renovation of our church gym, my husband, Tom, was standing backwards on a ladder and reaching to pull a nail out from the ceiling. The ladder slipped, taking him sixteen feet to the cement floor below.  He crushed his heel and broke his hip.  Now, he sports all sorts of hardware: two rods, cabling and screws in his leg, and thirteen screws and a plate in his foot.

It’s been a long and, at times, weary road.  As we look back, it’s amazing to see what the Lord has done in the past year!  Perhaps the greatest blessing from it all is the love which was poured out on our lives: cards, gifts, meals, acts of kindness.  When a pastor can’t preach, who preaches?  Who turns out the lights, turns on the heat, cuts the grass?  Who visits the sick?  There are so many little jobs that a pastor often does—especially when he lives right next to the church—that are done without notice, until they are not done!  Watching our people rally behind him brought joy unspeakable!

Trials—we certainly do not ask for them, but it is good to understand that they do not happen without God’s attention.  They don’t hit us while He’s not looking, because He sees all!  And so, the oft-asked question is:

Why does God allow bad things to happen?

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

But let patience have its perfect work,

that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1: 2

It is true that we do not ask for trials, but we do ask for patience.  We do want to be “complete” or approved of God.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season,

if need be,

ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith,

 being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire,

might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 1:6,7

Peter knew, James knew, I would say the majority of the first century Christians knew that the trials which plagued their lives also empowered them to be the salt and light that they needed to be in a totally godless world.  (And if you are looking for inspiration, try reading Fox’s Book of Martyrs—just a buck on Amazon for a Kindle!)

Here we are, in another godless age, perhaps on the brink of facing the worst persecution Satan has yet to dish out; how will we face the trials?  Peter encourages us to allow them to grow our faith and ultimately bring praise and honor and glory to our Lord. That may be easier said than done, but I was recently reminded in a sermon, that with every trial a battle rages:  Satan wants to destroy us and our testimony, and God wants to grow us and make life more precious!

Tom now walks with a limp.  Pain is a frequent reminder of his year-old trial, but overall we praise God for allowing him to heal and to live!  To God be the glory!

Trust–When She’s Turning Blue?

Trust–how can I trust the nurse, when my newest little granddaughter is obviously not happy with what she is doing?

Yesterday, Callie Brooke made her way into the world, and we praise the Lord that Mommy and baby are doing great!  She was only a few minutes old when we met.   In fact, she had not even been cleaned up from the delivery when I had the privilege of holding her.  And then, I was able to watch the nurse do her work, part of which was to give Callie her first bath.

Callie was not enjoying it!  “Oh, you’re one of those babies that holds her breath,” she said as Callie turned blue!  This can’t be good!  It’s probably destroying her brain cells, I silently huffed, smiling on the outside!

But as we talked, the sweet nurse shared that she’s been doing this for twenty-one years!  Can you imagine how many babies she’s washed?  It was very apparent that she knew what she was doing, AND she was also loving every minute!  In short, Callie was in good hands!

Whose Hands are you in?

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. John 10:29

As a believer, you are in Jesus’ hands. And just in case you didn’t get the point, Jesus gives us the following verse:

My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

I often refer to this verse to assure new believers that they are secure in their decision to trust Christ as their Savior. In fact, it’s one of the strongest statements supporting eternal security in the Bible.  Am I stronger than my God?  Can I remove myself from God’s hand by my own sinful actions?

How secure are we?  Twenty-one years of experience settled in my mind concerning my little granddaughter, and  I am trusting the keeping of my soul to the Eternal Creator God of the Universe!  He has no beginning–has always been, He created EVERYTHING, knows EVERYTHING, sees EVERYTHING, hears EVERYTHING.  He knows my thought before I think them!  He knows every tomorrow I will face; in fact, He’s planned every one of them!!  Wow!  That’s security!  And I’m a fool NOT to trust Him!  So why is it so hard?  🙂

This trust thing requires faith.  I could see the proof that the nurse knew what she was doing. She was standing right in front of me, doing her work.  Although I know in my heart that God is here, I can only know that, by faith! I recently said to my husband that it doesn’t seem much like faith any more.  God is such a part of my life, that it would be more difficult not believe than to believe!  That didn’t happen overnight, but what the hymn “In the Garden” says is true:

And He walks with me,
And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

WAIT! What happened to “Common Sense for Uncommon People?”

So glad you asked!  I’ve been debating for some time about changing the name of my blog. What really triggered the change was my daily devotions with Oswald Chamber’s Devotional Bible.  Several entries have been against common sense, and it cinched the deal for me! While common sense is SO missing in our society, as born-again believers, we need to go BEYOND COMMON SENSE in our walk with God.  Common sense is essential in everyday choices; however, there are times when what we do makes NO sense, because we are walking in the steps of our Savior.  For example:

It makes no sense to leave a high-paying job to go into the ministry.

It makes no sense to head to the mission field with only 85% of your support.

It makes no sense to put your kids in a Christian school when the public schools are free and your budget is already tight.

The point is, it never makes sense to walk by faith!

So, welcome to “Beyond Common Sense.”  Same writer, same Lord, same desire to encourage believers in their walk with God–just a different name!